MMJ Impact

Miami-Dade Medical Marijuana Financial Report Analysis

On May 6, 2014, the board of county commissioners adopted a resolution requesting the Miami-Dade County Mayor to produce a report analyzing the financial impact of the sale of medical marijuana (MMJ) in Miami-Dade and the South Florida area. Such request was in response to a possibility that the medical marijuana industry would come to Florida. Finally, on August 2, 2016, the County administration released the report.

What the Report contains.

The report notes that at this point the medical cannabis market is very restrictive due to limited legislation, no insurance coverage, and low number of doctors with proper certification. Under the current Compassionate Care Act and Right to Try Act, about 307,000 Florida patients may potentially qualify for medical marijuana. Notably, under these two acts only people with cancer, chronic muscle spasms, epilepsy and terminally ill patients are allowed to have access to the medicine. Hence, the number of potential patients is huge.

About 42,000 (13%) of those patients live in Miami-Dade County and about 100,000 (30%) live in the Southeast region. The authors estimate the medical marijuana market about $785 million annually under the current legislation. This number is derived from the data that on average a patient, that falls within the meaning of the current MMJ laws, spends $3,000 a year on the prescribed drugs. As such, the market in the South Florida has a potential of about $300 million annually. The market in Miami-Dade is $132 million according to the report.

Further, it addresses employment. The industry will create 102 construction related jobs with payroll of $2.24 million over the period of construction. The County anticipates 125 direct and 75 secondary jobs. These jobs will produce $11.15 million a year in pays. The authors conclude that the total financial impact on Miami-Dade County will be $61.9 million and the number will grow to $62.8 million by 2025.

GreenAcre’s Vision.

This report is very pro-industry. That is a sign that Miami-Dade will be cannabis friendly county. Notably, Miami-Dade was the first county to decriminalize cannabis possession below 20 grams. Let’s analyze some parts of the report.

First, the numbers in the report do not take into consideration Amendment 2 that will be on the ballot in November. Amendment 2 has between 61% to 80% of approval rate according to the last polls. GreenAcre has no doubt the amendment will pass. These new laws will bring a number of other medical conditions that will qualify patients for medical marijuana. Some sources project that the number of potential patients will grow to 700,000. That is two fold the numbers Miami-Dade County provides. Proportionally, Miami-Dade County will have about 100,000 potential patients. South Florida will have about 230,000 potential patients.

Further, the data from other MMJ states show that on average a patient spends about $300 a month on medical marijuana. That comes to $3,600 annually for each patient to spend. As such the potential sales in the MMJ industry are around $2.5 billion in Florida and $360 million in Miami-Dade.

There is no data we can rely on to derive proper numbers of patients that will use alterative medicine (medical cannabis). The report does not explain the “realistic” number $61.9 million annual financial impact in Miami-Dade County. However, making all the subtractions from this number (construction, wages) we come to the number of $48.51 million in sales of medical marijuana. That is 36.75% of the potential industry worth ($132 million) in Miami-Dade County. In other words, the authors came to the conclusion that a third (1/3) of the potential market sales is the worth of medical marijuana industry.

By the same token, after Amendment 2 passes and the new regulations are in place, the number we are looking at in Miami-Dade County is a third of the potential market sales ($360 million), which is $120 million in sales a year. Add to this the cost of construction and services rendered by consultants, lawyers, accountants, secondary market businesses, the industry worth may go up to $150 million a year just for Miami-Dade County.

How About Reciprocity?

Further, this number is not final at all. We should not exclude the chance that Florida will provide for reciprocity that will allow the snowbirds and tourists have access to Florida MMJ program given they have valid MMJ cards from their own States. The estimate number is hard to derive, but obviously out of 100 million tourists visiting Florida a number of people will have MMJ card from their states, as the industry grows exponentially. For example, if only 3% of the tourists and snowbirds have valid MMJ cards, that would add 3 million potential patients annually. That number alone can bring almost $1 billion in sales in Florida.

Conclusion.

Overall, the report provided by the County, although a little bit outdated, holds water. Possibly a mistake in calculations occurred when the County forecasted $1 million growth to the industry by 2025 for Miami-Dade, as this number is very low for medical marijuana industry even on the scale of a County. By year 2025, Florida will take its deserved 2 place in the US medical marijuana industry. Florida alone will likely produce $2-3 billion in sales of medical marijuana. Miami-Dade and the Southeastern region will have a big chunk of this market share.

There is not doubt that after the passage of Amendment 2, the medical marijuana industry will bring millions of dollars to the Florida economy, relief to the patients, and jobs to the community. GreenAcre’s legal and business department closely tracks all changes in the political and business aspects of medical marijuana in efforts to provide outstanding legal and consultancy advice on the regulated cannabis market.

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GreenMail Weekly #7: Medical Marijuana Business and Legal Digest

Australia Is Going To Regulate.

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Great news is coming from Australia. In February of 2016, the Australia government made changes in the Narcotic Drug Act as a result of the campaign Ms. Haslam started. In February of 2015, Ms. Haslam’s son, Daniel Haslam died of terminal bowel cancer. It is known that medical marijuana is one of the few medicines that help with this particular illness. However, due to Governmental regulations, Daniel could not have access to the medicine he needed. Appropriately, his mother petitioned the Government to bring changes to the Narcotic Drug Act. Medical marijuana was rescheduled from Schedule 10 (most dangerous drugs) to Schedule 8 (drugs like codeine, and morphine).

Currently, the Australian government is seeking to legalize and regulate medical marijuana in November, which is interesting timing, considering that about a dozen states in the US are projected to promulgate more regulations on medical marijuana. Unlike Australia, the U.S. Federal government and DEA denied rescheduling medical marijuana back in July of 2016.

New York is Looking to Expand the MMJ Program

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One of the strictest MMJ programs in the US is expected to expand. New York is the state where limited medical marijuana laws were in effect. However, after social outcry to state officials to add more conditions to the list of qualifying ailments, the prayers were answered.

The State is planning to add delivery services to the patients, more dispensaries, caregiver to administer drug, and adding more qualifying symptoms, such as chronic pain. Currently there are only 17 dispensaries in the State owned by five State licensed companies. More than 7,000 patients signed for the program since its inception. The positive legal amendments in one of the most restrictive state bring hope that other similarly situated states will follow the lead of the Empire State.

Ohio Starts Its Medical Marijuana Program This Thursday, September 8, 2016.

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Unlike many other States where medical and adult use marijuana laws came into existence through a referendum, Ohio made the necessary changes to its cannabis laws through acts of the legislature. The Governor, John Kasich, signed the law after it went through both Houses. The program goes into effect this coming Thursday. The law will avail opportunities for investment in the regulated cannabis industry, and entrepreneurs will start channeling funds into obtaining licenses and starting new businesses to serve the local communities. The qualifying conditions included ailments such as; cancer, PTSD, AIDS/UIV, chronic, severe or intractable pain, and many others.

Delaware is in need of expansion of its MMJ program.

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Thousands of medical marijuana patients in Delaware do not have adequate access to the medicine. Constituents of the state have to drive dozens of miles to get to a legal dispensary in efforts to purchase relief for their medical conditions. Other patients do not wait, nor have the resources to fund the voyage, and purchase MMJ illegally from their local distributors. Another reason for patients buying on the black market is due to the lack of competitive prices in legal dispensaries, as the prices are astronomical. Delaware is an example of a State that does not properly regulate their legal cannabis industry, due to lack of legal and business education.

New Jersey MMJ advocates continue to push.

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A group of MMJ activists are pushing the bill for Governor Chris Christie to sign. The bill will provide thousands patients suffering from PTSD access to medical marijuana. The online petition has already gathered almost 18,000 signatures in support of the Bill. If the Governor neither signs nor vetoes the bill, it will become law automatically after the end of waiting period. The question is why wait?

California is Setting a Higher Standard

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A bill was placed on the California Governor’s desk. The bill seeks to regulate the manufacturing of medical marijuana through a study of effects of cannabis on motors skills. The new standards will be implemented for manufacturing businesses in California. It will exempt the manufacturing businesses from criminal sanctions if they comply with the standard. Currently, manufacturing must use the processes without solvents or with non-flammable, nontoxic solvents.

In part, the bill was in response to the anti-regulation group actions. The group alleged that the regulation of adult use medical marijuana would bring more auto accidents due to the impairment. The study will resolve this issue as well.

With the implementation of this bill, California is setting the standard in the medical marijuana industry and demonstrating how the issues in the community can be resolved through proper legislation.

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GreenMail Weekly #6: Medical Marijuana Business and Legal Digest

Emerging Issues in MMJ Industry.

With more and more States enacting medical marijuana laws, some other legal challenges arise. An employee using medical marijuana at work is one of the issues. Since the medicine is still illegal under federal law, employees they run the risk of being fired, unless States enact legislation to protect use of medical marijuana.

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Such results are especially ridiculous in the light of the fact that many more dangerous drugs like Adderall (amphetamine), oxycodone and similar kinds are acceptable to use at work. However, some States do protect the MMJ patients. Arizona, Delaware, New York, Minnesota have laws in place to set such protections for the patients. These regulations are all alike: if an employee in possession of MMJ card is tested positive for THC, the employer must prove that the use of medicine impairs the employee in order to fire them.

Employees in Ohio, for example do not have such protections. Moreover, the law provides that firing an employee for using MMJ falls under the umbrella of “just cause.” This particular law is backed by Federal Regulations.

There are other holes in Ohio’s State MMJ law’s that need to be patched. For example, can an employer request employee’s information on the possession of MMJ card? Will such request violate the rights to privacy? If an employer learns about the employee having MMJ card, is it a just cause to fire her? These and many other questions are open for discussion and need to be addressed.

What Is The Future In The MMJ Consumption?

New Jersey is known in the MMJ industry as the State, where MMJ is to be smoked only. No other ways of extracting THC and CBD from the flowers were allowed. Many patients had to learn on their own how to extract oil and consume it themselves, or give it to their children. Many unanswered inquiries have been made by constituents to allow other means of consuming medical marijuana.

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Soon New Jersey will have edible drops and enhanced lotions. One of the five dispensaries in NJ won approval last Friday to process and produce such non-smokable products. It may take up to two weeks to start manufacturing and selling the products.

States like Pennsylvania and Florida have another extreme: no smokable products allowed. Only oils and extracts can be used by patients. Obviously, the legislators do not understand the concept of terpenes, the chemicals in medical marijuana that serve as a vehicle to deliver THC and CBD to the brain. When smoked, the extent of terpenes release is the highest; however, during extraction methods much of the terpenes are destroyed reducing the effect of the drug.

To Be Or Not To Be?

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The medical marijuana initiative is unlikely to make it on the November ballot in Oklahoma. There are a few reasons for that, but the main one is political. First, the Oklahoma Supreme Court is still determining whether the signatures collected in the support of the measure are sufficient. The Supreme Court is taking its time to do so, which results in time constrains on publishing the initiative. Second, attorney general filed a new text of the regulations noting that the old one lacks the qualifying medical conditions for the doctors to know when to recommend the medicine. While such language in the initiative is crucial, the issue can be fixed through lawmaking body acts, setting out such conditions once the people of Oklahoma approve the initiative. As for now, many patients in Oklahoma, including parents of sick children, have to violate the stat and federal law by crossing the state border with Colorado to purchase the medicine.

Where Is My Dispensary?

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Trulieve is looking to expand its business to the South Florida. Trulieve is a company that already operates two dispensaries in Florida: one in Tallahassee and one in Clearwater.  The company sent an official inquiry to Palm Beach county planning and zoning department, requesting information on where medical marijuana dispensary can be opened. Similar requests are being prepared for Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. GreenAcre is hoping that Florida will keep an eye on monopoly laws in the State in the light of this expansion.

Green Rush Underway.

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Arizona State is among five States that will be voting on adult use medical marijuana this Fall. Nevertheless, about 750 applications were filed with the State Health Department for approval to dispense medical marijuana under the prior law that was passed five years ago. Only 31 licenses are to be approved. The chance of each application is about 4%. However, once approved, the license is worth $2-3 million. Once implemented and fully operational, it is worth about $10 million.   Despite all these facts, less than 1/3 of the applications are in full compliance according to the State officials. Currently, there are 58 dispensaries in Arizona that can grow and sell medical marijuana. Those 58 licenses were approved via lottery. This time around, the State will be using a merit-based system, taking into consideration certain factors like location, proximity to schools, zoning and similar variables.

Do You Still Shop At Publix?

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As we reported earlier, Publix founder daughter donated $800,000 to the anti-medical marijuana campaign in Florida.  This event did not go unnoticed. In addition to thousands people boycotting Publix, including the entire GreenAcre team, over 50,000 people signed “Do not use my money to fund your political benefit” petition, demanding Publix to seize and desist from such actions in the future. Publix chain reaction is not known at this moment. However, the decreased revenue should make the owners reconsider the moves they are making in the future.

Short On Maryland Situation.

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Maryland MMJ panel has released the rankings of the applicants who submitted and won the MMJ licenses in Maryland. Notably, no criteria on how the rankings were determined have been released. As of today, there are 20 cultivation and 30 processor licenses issued.

South West Florida Doctors vs MMJ.

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South West Florida Medical Community showed their gap in the medical knowledge last week. The group of doctors gathered in Fort Myers and decided not to support the Amendment 2 that will legalize and regulate medical marijuana in Florida. It is very sad and disappointing when those who are meant to give patients relief from ailments actually deny it. GreenAcre closely tracks the attitude of doctors’ concerning Florida MMJ laws.

Orange County Does not Support MMJ in Florida Yet. 

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The Orange County is following the Orlando City’s lead by placing moratorium to ban any medical marijuana related businesses in that county. The moratorium will continue until May 23, 2017, or until repealed. As many other similar bans, this one requires to do more medical marijuana research regarding the impact on, safety, and welfare of residences and businesses.

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GreenMail Weekly #5: Medical Marijuana Business and Legal Digest

Pennsylvania (“PA”) provided some insight on how it is going to regulate the medical marijuana industry. This is the first draft of the laws; nevertheless, it provides a good understanding of what is important for the State. PA is not currently allowing for the consumption of the flower. Oils and extracts are the main end products of processed medical marijuana. MMJ permits are transferable with the State’s approval. The regulations provide for diversity in permit’s issuance: the minorities should have certain opportunities in the business.   The State will allow 25 initial cultivation facilities and 50 dispensary licenses. A grow facility license requires a $30,000.00 non-refundable fee and a $200,000.00 refundable fee upon issuance of the permit. A $500,000.00 must be deposited on the applicant’s account and there should be proof of $2,000,000.00, of total available investment. The latter illustrates the clear intent of PA’s lawmakers to make this industry available to deep pockets applicants. GreenAcre anticipates Florida’s laws will reflect similar requirements.

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Tampa Bay Times offers a great analysis of the medical marijuana laws across the jurisdictions in the light of new materials released by the Drug Free Florida Committee. Such materials contain the information on the wording of the amendment, signaling prevention’s mechanisms for local governments to ban MMJ dispensaries in Florida.   Although the materials have some foundation to justify the banning (there is no provision that allows such bans in the initiative.) In reality, the language of the Amendment does not prohibit the local moratoriums on MMJ business in Florida. Moreover, the Amendment language is the skeleton of the law, the meat will be the detailed laws written after Floridians vote yes in November 2016. Additionally, some municipal governments have already implemented bans against MMJ businesses. Boca Raton and Plantation are good examples of said bans. Similar to 2014’s initiative, the anti-regulation coalition is attempting to mislead voters in Florida, which will deprive patients access to reliable medical marijuana.

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The Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) allowed more growers to cultivate plants for research, an exclusive right held before by Mississippi University; nonetheless, the DEA did not reschedule the medical marijuana to Schedule II category. Researchers will now have access to different strains, which possess various properties for medical use. It is unclear how long will it take for the new policies to be implemented. The DEA did no make any comments about it.

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The second dispensary opened up in Florida. The store is located in Clearwater. This event occurred just weeks after the first dispensary opened up in Tallahassee.

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The Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prohibited the Department of Justice to prosecute MMJ businesses that are in strict compliance with the State law where they are located. The Court sent the case back to the trial level where the Appellants will have a chance to prove they strictly complied with the local laws.

Pro-regulation Florida group, United for Care, raised $35,000.00 for the second week of August. The amount raised will be allocate to support the Amendment 2 initiative, which will take place in November 2016. Although there is a strong opposition, Florida’s municipalities, entrepreneurs, and patients are preparing for the changes in law after the approval of Amendment 2.

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Ohio medical marijuana program requires $1.8 million to be implemented. Department of Commerce will get approximately $900,000.00 from the licenses issued to growers, processors, and testing labs of MMJ. The State Pharmacy Board will get another $900,000.00. The Board will be responsible for disseminating licenses, registering patients and caregivers, and overseeing the advisory committee. The program should be up and running by September 2018.

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GreenAcre is the company that has a team of medical marijuana lawyers, consultants, engineers, an other experts that will guide you through the regulated cannabis industry in Florida, the United States, and globally.

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GreenMail Weekly #4 Medical Marijuana News

As we discussed last week, South Dakota ballot measure on MMJ was at the discretion of the circuit judge, as MMJ supporters filed a law suit claiming their was a lack of due diligence on the State’s behalf in assessing the legality of the signatures, which was necessary for the approval of the ballot. This Tuesday the judge dismissed the case, simply noting that the signatures were insufficient. Now, the lawmakers have the last word to pass a similar legislation some time in the future. Meanwhile, North Dakota’s MMJ amendment made it to the ballot. When passed, the State will regulate the licensure for cultivating and dispensing. The patients will be able to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for their medical needs.

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Next in line is Missouri. The MMJ initiative will unlikely make it to the ballot as the State invalidated over 10,000 signatures, and the initiative is short 2,000 signatures.   The deadline is approaching.  Although the supporters intend to seek legal action to challenge the State’s decision it is also unlikely that it will bring any result.

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Maryland is among the states where the MMJ industry is snowballing. The first MMJ law was released in 2013. However, due to the heavy restrictions, the regulations did not work well.  Some companies endured severe losses as a resultThe lawmakers made significant changes in 2014 to fix the prior law.  The legislature deleted the requirement for research center, and allowed certified doctors and even nurses to recommend MMJ to patients with qualified illnesses. A reciprocity option was created as well. This brought over 1,000 applications for MMJ licenses. The marijuana commission intends to grant 94 MMJ dispensary license out of 811 this year.

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While DEA keeps MMJ in the schedule one drug and only expands the research of it, the federal government in Canada allowed the MMJ patients to grow the medicine at home just like in the US states where adult use of marijuana has been decriminalized.

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Ohio Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion last week. “Lawyers cannot provide legal services to establish, operate, or help someone do business with a medical marijuana business in Ohio, even though the state is about to legalize its use.” This opinion is quite surprising in the light of many other States issuing similar opinions giving the “OKAY” to their legal professionals to help and assist in legal cannabis businesses. For example, Florida bar allows lawyers to advise investors on legal medical marijuana businesses provided that lawyers make some disclaimers. In case of Ohio, it is not clear how businesses will be getting legal advice.

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Veterans in NJ are fighting to have PTSD added to the list of the conditions for medical marijuana use. The veterans press the state government to act on this request, as medical marijuana is the only thing that helps them to rid of flashbacks from the past when they served the country in war. At this point, the vets are buying MMJ illegally from other States. The bill that will add PTSD to the MMJ program is projected to pass this year.

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Israeli medical marijuana program is looking to expand. The Health Ministry plans to provide training to over 100 physicians who will be able to prescribe MMJ to patients. This number will increase the number of such physicians three fold. Israel is taking a stance of medicalization of marijuana: to prescribe it to people who require it and have the required condition. The list of the conditions has been growing past years in accord with the scientific research.

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Georgians are not satisfied with the DEA ruling on medical cannabis. A very limited MMJ program in Georgia continues to be in its infant stages, as the local government follows the federal government guidelines on medical marijuana. After DEA failed to reschedule the medicine, many Georgians voiced their opinions on implementation of more advanced program for patients qualifying for MMJ.

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GreenMail Weekly #3

Puerto Rico is another jurisdiction that took the best out of other States’ marijuana regulations: three-tiered license from Colorado, reciprocity from Nevada, laboratory regulations from Washington and Oregon. Puerto Rico’s MMJ program is, up to date, having the most rapid progress in the Nation. May of 2015, through executive order, MMJ was legalized, and by January of 2016, the regulatory body of the laws had been set. At this point, the health department received 21 cultivation applications. The following months, the state expects to receive cultivation and manufacturing applications. The first sales could begin in January of 2017. The list of qualifying symptoms, in addition to a standard set, included PTSD and anxiety.

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Following Florida first dispensary, Boston welcomes its first medical marijuana dispensary as well. The dispensary, located on the famous Milk Street, is the seventh retail facility in the state. Massachusetts’s voters are going to vote on the adult use marijuana initiative in November. GreenAcre is closely tracking the historical changes in the regulated cannabis industry globally.

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Detroit’s medical marijuana dispensaries are showing some signs of entrepreneurial spirit. Although not too much information is coming from Michigan, there are a number of dispensaries in the city of Detroit. Check the link provided above to see how cannabusiness owners create the appearance of the facilities. Dave Jordano authored the pictures.

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Another attempt to fight Florida MMJ program has come from Orlando where Florida Medical Association voted to oppose Amendment 2, which expands Florida’s medical marijuana laws. This is the second blow to pro-regulation movement in Florida. Last week Publix donated $800,000 to “the anti-pot” campaign.   It is worth mentioning that this time Florida Supreme Court approved the text of the Amendment with 7-0 vote with no opposition briefs filed at all as opposed 4-3 vote and over 300 pages of briefs against the regulation in 2013. Also, the State Attorney general has not voiced opposition to the change in law this time. This time around the Floridians are ready to say “YES” to the regulation despite the attempts of old-fashioned approach.

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As we discussed a few weeks ago, New Hampshire does not allow medical marijuana for patients who suffer from severe pain generated by anything else but the limited medical conditions pronounced in the current laws. Now, Minnesota allows medical marijuana for intractable pain patients. With this legislative change, the program expended drastically.

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The supporters of medical marijuana program in South Dakota has filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State office. The Plaintiffs accuse the office of not using due diligence during the check of the signatures for the ballot initiative before the Office rejected it. Now the initiative’s measure’s future is at the court’s discretion.

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Nevada Attorney General (“AG”) addressed the issue of Nevada reciprocity structure, which allows patients from other medical marijuana states with MMJ card to access Nevada dispensaries. Companies were organizing bus tours from California to Nevada with tourists having only a note from a doctor, which is allowed in California, the AG issued a warning against such tours. The business owners are not supporting this idea, as it will affect the sales.

Last week Pennsylvania’s Governor made an announcement about speeding up the implementation of the MMJ program. Accordingly, the State has taken steps to live up to the Governor’s word. John Collins was appointed to lead MMJ program in the State. The Pennsylvania’s MMJ pool is estimated about 200,000. The program will bring millions of dollars to the budget and create over 5,000 new jobs.

New Mexico is the State that has recently implemented its MMJ program. The amount of patients doubled in June, from 14,000 to about 27,000 patients. This brought a huge backlog to the health of department. Although the State is required to issue or deny a MMJ card within 30 days, an average wait time is 43 days. Other States on the verge of opening up the floodgates for the MMJ industry should use New Mexico’s experience of do’s and dont’s, not to make the same mistakes. For example, Florida is estimated to have more than 700,000 potential patients. Assuming 10% of them apply for MMJ cards, the latter would backlog the system unless proper measures are taken from the outset.

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GreenMail Weekly #2

Investors in Florida are getting excited over Amendment 2, which if passed, will promulgate rules further regulating the Florida medical marijuana market. The estimated number of Florida patents qualifying for the current regulations is roughly 80,000 people. This number is estimated to grow to 700,000 when the incentive passes. In the event that the Florida legislature incorporates a reciprocity mechanism, which gives access to medical marijuana to out-of-staters with medical marijuana card from their home states, the number of potential patients will grow exponentially more. The ripple effects will create various business opportunities in the second largest market in the nation. However, at this point no medical marijuana cards have been issued, as the regulations are so heavy that the process may take at minimum 90 days to obtain one. Of course, the process and timing of issuance of the cards will have to change after the passage of Amendment 2, because otherwise it will backlog the industry for years, delaying development.

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A questionable decision is coming from Florida where Publix, supermarket chain, contributed $800,000 to the campaign against medical marijuana Amendment. This move is not only directly attempts to deny over 500,000 Floridians access to the medicine, but also will affect Publix’s revenue, as the polls show 60% of the voting class support the November Initiative to regulate medical marijuana.

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Despite the controversial Florida campaigns over Amendment 2, the first medical marijuana dispensary has already opened up in Tallahassee. This is a result of two-year period after the governor signed the bill into law allowing low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana to be grown, processed and dispensed for 3 limited medical conditions. Only six licenses exist to the date. Nineteen cities in Florida are preparing for dispensaries to open up the coming year. The current law prohibits consumption of medical cannabis through smoking. Once passed, Amendment 2 will open up numerous business opportunities in Sunshine state.

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Some interesting news is coming from Italy. The government entrusted the army to produce medical marijuana for patients with qualifying conditions. Since September of 2014, the Italian army has been permitted to cultivate, process, and dispense the medicine.   Currently, the facility that is under the military control on the base in Florence has around 135 plants and produces about 100 kg of medical marijuana annually. Colonel in charge of the facility sets the goal to drop the price per gram down to €8.

Great news from Pennsylvania. In addition to having very business-friendly medical marijuana program, Pennsylvanian Governor Wolf also asked the Department of Health to accelerate the implementation of the program. It was planned to start the cannabis industry in early 2018; now it will start even earlier than that. With a limited amount of licenses, the competition for licenses in Pennsylvania is going to be ballistic; however, those investors who receive the license will be bringing immense revenue.

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Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin finally approved the signatures necessary to place adult use marijuana on the November ballot. Now Massachusetts is one out of 5 other states that will vote on a similar topic: California, Arizona, Maine, and Nevada.

Montana’s Medical Marijuana initiative also makes it to the ballot. The voters in November will decide whether patients will have access to the medicine and whether Montana will get millions of tax dollars to the budget after business opportunities open up following the regulation of the market.

We start seeing a lot more signals from the Federal Government making it closer to the descheduling/rescheduling medical marijuana. Chuck Rosenberg, acting DEA Administrator, published a notice proposing to modify the amount of marijuana grown for the need of the federal government. That number is proposed to be increased to 1,041 pounds.

The previous GreenMail Weekly can be found here.

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Contact GreenAcre with questions relating to cannabis consulting at ss@greenacreteam.com or at 786-247-1402

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GreenMail Weekly #1

The great state of Nevada is illustrating a prime example of when lawmakers make business and patient’s needs meet. Nevada lawmakers positively modified the process of obtaining medical marijuana cards by reducing the issuance time from 60 days to 24 hours. Nevada now has 20,000 qualified patients in the registry and the number is growing quickly.

Health Affairs journal delivered another powerful blow to government officials that still reject the scientific data collected by private researcher. The main punch line is Medicare spending’s in medical marijuana vs. traditional prescription drugs fight. Researches found that in 2013, when only 17 states regulated medical marijuana, Medicare savings were equal to $165 million. This number may triple once all states issue the regulations on medical marijuana. Notably, the overall rate in pain management drugs dropped approximately 12%.

We see some other States making the same exact mistakes when regulating the cannabis industry.   This time Hawaii has to delay the opening up of dispensaries beyond planned July 15, 2016. The reason for that is the complexity of the requirements and unattractive business perspectives the State provided in its regulations for testing labs. No test lab licenses were issued, and the dispensaries cannot obtain certification for their medication. Without such certification, the law prohibits the sales of cannabis products. The first lab is forecasted to open up no earlier than December of 2016. Sadly, 13,000 patients are left with no medication for their diseases.

One of the six nurseries in Florida celebrates its first harvest of 6,000 sq ft of canopy that is stored “in multiple vacuum-packed, 441-gram bags in a freezer on the outskirts of Tallahassee.” The harvest will be available for dispensing within two weeks, as the Department of Health gave the green light. Meanwhile, an administrative judge in Jacksonville held that the other applications possessed more merit, and accordingly rejected the 7th nursery license that was in dispute. To date, about half a million qualified patients in Florida have no access to their much needed medicine.

Let’s move to Illinois. The pilot program, developed by the State for qualified patients, doubled its numbers jumping from 4,000 in the beginning of the year to 8,000 patients in July. However, the experts say that to support the industry, Illinois needs 120,000 patients. That number can be easily reached if the legislators include more qualifying symptoms to the list of the existing ones. Illinois lawmakers resist the change and are taking it at a very slow pace, only recently adding PTSD and terminal illnesses as qualifications for medical marijuana.

New Hampshire is another example of the politicians’ either not having compassion for other people or not understanding medical marijuana scientific research. Although the law allows medication for patients with severe pain, such pain must be associated with one of the qualifying medical condition such as Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson disease or similar. As such, a patient with severe pain caused, for example, by a car crash cannot have access to the medication. Provided New Hampshire has opioids epidemic (the State is at the top of the list for opioids prescription per resident), giving access to alternative medication would help not only decrease opioid-related deaths, but also will boost the State’s budget as taxed revenue will skyrocket. Exclusionary regulations do not work either for the community, the government or investors.

The next question is whether Arkansas is ready for its medical marijuana regulations. The Amendment allowing medical marijuana regulations has been approved for the November ballot. The surveys show that super majority (60%) of likely voters supports the Amendment.   The Medical Marijuana Act, when approved by voters, will become the most comprehensive regulation in the southern States.   The Act provides for over 50 qualifying medical conditions for patients to gain access to the medical marijuana. Thirty-eight licenses for dispensaries are projected to be issued in the initial stage. The regulation will create great business opportunities, and the State will quickly expend the program.

Arizona ballot measure to regulate adult use cannabis is now under the judicial radar. A group of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit to challenge the initiative coming on the ballot in November. The plaintiffs allege that signatures for the initiative were obtained fraudulently.   The lawsuit will probably fail as the campaign obtained over 250,000 signatures when only 150,000 were needed. Meanwhile, Arizona finally gives green light for 31 new dispensaries to open up in addition to existing 99 dispensaries. New dispensaries can open as early as October. This is a great business opportunity for investors to jump on.

A tragic story is coming from South Carolina where no medical marijuana regulations are in place. Dixie Pace is 19-year-old girl who suffers from epileptic seizures, which traditional drugs cannot help. Every time Dixie has a seizure, she hurts herself when falling. The only medicine that helps her is CBD oil that reduces her seizures by 90%. Nevertheless, this April SC lawmakers rejected medical marijuana bill and left Dixie without the much-needed medication. SC is among a few States that rejects the regulation of the cannabis industry. GreenAcre closely tracks legal changes in that state.